Spending money on marketing can be daunting for financial advisers.
Most know that marketing is an important area of their business to invest in, but how do they know their money is being well spent?
Fortunately, in our digital age it has become far easier to measure intangible things like marketing. For instance, you can now very easily track things like the numbers of website visitors you have each day, or the click through rates on your Google ads.
This makes it much easier to see the effect that your marketing spend is having, and whether you are getting a good return on your investment.
The key thing here is finding the right units of measure to accurately assess the success of your financial marketing efforts. For instance, is it really important to you how many people saw your Google ads (impressions), or how many leads they generated on your landing pages?
Measurements In Financial Adviser Marketing
In digital marketing, measurements are sometimes called “metrics”.
This can be defined as a measuring system – one that quantifies a characteristic, dynamic or trend.
In practical terms, this can be something as simple as a number, such as cost, distance, income or time. It can also be extended to include relationships between different measures, such as cost per week.
Metrics are useful only insofar as you can use them more than once, to make comparisons.
For instance, a financial adviser may find it helpful to know that they spent £200 on Google Ads last month, and that this generated 300 clicks on their ads. It would be much more useful, however, to also know that the month before that, they spent £250 on Google Ads which generated 250 clicks.
Metrics can be purely financial – such as profit, margin, revenue and cost per lead / acquisition. However, most financial advisers also now need to take a wider view about the things they should measure within their marketing:
- Society. IFAs might now also consider including measures of responsibility with regards to community involvement, involvement in financial education in local schools, and other CSR measures.
- Staff. With employees being some of your most critical business assets, measures might also include well being, individual health, psychological and “happiness” measures.
- Environment. This might include measure relating to the business’s carbon footprint, energy usage, transportation and waste management.
So, whilst the financial measures of your IFA marketing are crucial, you should seriously consider whether this is the sole focus for your business. Are there wider areas to consider?
Measuring your marketing can seem like a burden, but there are a number of tangible benefits which make the effort worthwhile:
- Facilitate decision-making. With key information in front of you, metrics enable you to make smarter choices about your marketing. For instance, if marketing channel A brings in £2000 per month at £1000 spend, and marketing channel B brings in £4000 at the same cost, you have good grounds for increasing your marketing spend on the latter.
- Strategy clarification. No business can thrive without a solid strategy. Metrics can assist here, by providing consistent and appropriate knowledge to help you devise an appropriate strategy.
- Adaptation. The business world is constantly shifting, as is the digital environment which IFAs find themselves operating in. Metrics can help you navigate your way through this, at minimal disruption. For instance, if your Google Analytics is showing increasing numbers of your website visitors coming from mobiles, isn’t it time to optimise all of your digital assets for those devices?
- Team focus. With commonly-agreed units of measure in place, both management and staff can better understand what is expected of them, and how the business is performing at different levels.
Strategy, Tactics & Activities
When it comes to financial adviser marketing, it can be tempting to simply want to measure financial metrics, such as profits and sales.
Yet these fail to account for the broader impact marketing has on other areas, such as recommendations, loyalty, brand awareness and customer attitude. They also overlook that time factor, and the snowball effect that good marketing can have over longer periods of time.
In light of this, it is actually better to measure IFA marketing through a set of distinct but related “lenses”, which provide alternate yet complementary perspectives. These lenses are:
- Strategic. This is concerned with how marketing is impacting the IFA business at the higher level. For instance, this typically looks at measures such as ROI, shareholder value added, or EVA.
- Tactical / operational. This is often linked to “critical success factors”, providing insight into how marketing mix tactics are performing. Commonly, this will cover the entire customer journey, from their initial awareness of the IFA brand to the period after they become a client. For example, metrics at this level might include efficiency, budgets and analytics.
- Activity. This is the very basic measure of marketing for financial advisers. These metrics provide the basic, essential data from which you can draw insights and analyses. Metrics at this level might include call volumes, conversion rates and complaints.
Short & Long Term Views
Looking at these three lenses of financial adviser marketing, it is probably striking to you how common it is for businesses to focus on the short term.
As a financial marketing agency, we get it. It is far more tempting to focus on short term financial results rather than a longer-term horizon. After all, which of the following sounds better to you:
“Get great pension advice leads fast!”
“Build up your brand awareness, client loyalty, staff engagement and lead generation efforts over a sustained marketing campaign!”
To most IFAs, the former sounds best – even if the latter is likely what they really need.
At the end of the day, of course, a balance does need to be struck in financial adviser marketing. It is important to address the issues you are presented with today, as well as preparing for the future to ensure your business’s survival and growth in the longer term.